My Dementia Journey, One Step at a Time, Provides a Helpful Tool for Caregivers

Tracy Gough, My Dementia Journey... One Step at a Time

By Tracy Gough

I’ve worked in the care industry as a nurse for over 30 years. In the last 15 I have mainly worked with people who have dementia. Through these years I have observed what an impact dementia has on all concerned and, with this in mind, I started to read and research as much about dementia as possible, as I wanted to have a better understanding about the illness.

I was initially shocked to find out that dementia was affecting not only older people but also younger people in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s too. So I started to raise awareness of this through my local newspaper. Little did I know at the time that I would go on to have a relative in my own family diagnosed with Frontal Lobe Dementia in his early 40’s.

Having dementia in my own family was a turning point for me. I not only now had a cousin affected by dementia but also a step-grandmother. My mum and myself were my step-grandmothers’ main caregivers, having already lost my stepfather to cancer several years before. I observed the difficulty my mum experienced looking after her and she eventually went on to require 24-hour nursing care as her illness became more complex.

My Dementia Journey... One Step at a Time, Tracy GoughDue to my own personal and professional journey with dementia, I decided to write a book, My Dementia Journey… step at a time, with the aim to support and help caregivers. I wanted the format to be a combination of information, tips, and advice, and, most importantly, “a safe place” for caregivers to write their innermost thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way as they traveled through this often roller coaster journey with their loved one.

My Dementia Journey… step at a time is split into seven sections, starting from the diagnosis right up to the end part of the illness where loved one’s needs may become more palliative in nature. Each section sensitively discusses some of the signs, symptoms, and challenges that dementia may bring to the caregiver. The book can also become a personal written account which can be taken along to medical appointments as caregivers may struggle in “the moment” to recall all details about their loved one’s illness.

My hope for the future is that any stigma related to dementia is eradicated, and the more awareness and information that can be raised through books and media resources can only help to achieve this. No one is exempted from experiencing this illness. Since writing my first book my own mother is undergoing tests at our local memory clinic, as she now appears to have the early signs of dementia herself.

Last year, I wrote about the bereavement endured both during and after a loved one’s dementia illness and created the book “Gone But Not Forgotten,” which will be published this year.  It has a similar format to my first book, providing space for caregivers to write their own thoughts and experiences, as well as providing ongoing guidance and support during an often-lonely bereavement process.

About the Author

Tracy Gough, author My Dementia JourneyI am Tracy Gough, a Registered Nurse, Life Coach and Author with over 30 years’ experience of working in the care sector. During this time, I have mainly worked with people who have dementia and have a background in setting up dementia support groups, providing complementary therapies for people with dementia and raising funds for dementia related charities. I have a passion for writing and providing 1:1 support, with an aim to help and support dementia caregivers through my nursing and coaching skills. I live in England with my husband Craig and have two teenage daughters, Charlotte and Ellie.


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